As a treat for my boyfriend, I thought it’d be nice to take him for afternoon tea. We’d already decided we were going to spend the day at Windsor Castle, so decided it’d be good to look for somewhere in that area. Windsor and the surrounding areas are lovely, so we weren’t too concerned about ending up somewhere that charged you £20 for half a sandwich and a cup of nasty tea.
And so after our tour of Windsor Castle, we jumped in the car and made the short 20-minute journey to Monkey Island. As we’d been looking through www.afternoontea.co.uk, we saw a few potential places, but the fact that this place was on an island and looked very attractive made it the winner.
As we left Windsor, we followed the satnav directions and found ourselves in a lovely little village, where the front doors open straight onto the street, and look like they are only big enough for hobbits to fit through. Traditional country pubs were dotted along our route, and we continued on to a more rural area. Finally, we took our quick turn into the parking area for Monkey Island. When we had made the booking, it had said that we wouldn’t be able to drive all the way to the venue. We were very intrigued, and as we got closer it became apparent that Monkey Island is well and truly an island, accessed only by a small footbridge.
The fact that it lived up to the island part of its name, I was intrigued to see whether the monkey part was true too. I’ll clear it up now – no monkeys. I wasn’t overly surprised as we don’t have wild or roaming monkeys in the UK, and when I asked why it was called Monkey Island it was something to do with the monks who used to worship on the island. Nope, I didn’t get it either.
As we stepped onto the island, we were greeted with two buildings – one is the hotel and one the function building. We made our way to the function building to grab our table for afternoon tea, and found ourselves in a room with painted ceilings and comfy sofas. Onwards we moved until we came to the bar. We may have come midweek, but thought there might have been at least a few people around. Turns out it was just us and the barman, which did work well for us as we moved tables 3 times. Initially we found a table inside, but as there were no other people there we felt like we’d be having tea with the barman, so we moved to the patio. Once on the patio, we spotted a table in the gardens looking out over the river. Deciding that was our final seat, the barman put a tablecloth on the table and we settled down to soak up the scenery.
Out came the waiter a little while later to take our order. We were a bit confused, as we had booked afternoon tea for two. At all other places I’ve enjoyed afternoon tea, the staff were aware how much food to bring for two people, and that we had in fact ordered afternoon tea. Wasn’t quite as clear here, and I’m still not sure whether we had afternoon tea for one or two people. If it was for one, then there was plenty. If it was for two, we could have had a bit more and it was smaller than other places we’ve had afternoon tea at. On the plates we were treated to soft, squishy bread with a selection of fillings for sandwiches, and a few cakes to tuck into. There were also two fruit scones, complete with jam and cream! Still not sure of the etiquette for scones, I like to put cream on one side, jam on the other, squish and twist! Very elegant I think you’ll agree.
Aside from the food, a major selling point of this place is just that, the place. We really enjoyed sitting on the garden, waving at the people in their boats as they sailed past and just enjoying the relaxing surroundings. There are even a few peacocks walking around the grounds which my boyfriend enjoyed, and I absolutely hated because I’m petrified of them (that’s a whole other story…).
If you are lucky enough to own a boat, or are enjoying a boat trip along the river, you can dock up and pop in for a drink here. Alternatively, there’s a hotel on the island, and the venue is also used for meetings and weddings.
- If it’s sunny opt for a table outside – it’s so relaxing!
- It’s not too far from Windsor so you can pair it with a tourist day there, but it’s far enough that it’s not going to be full of tourists.
- It’s also not too far from London, ideal for a relaxing day away from the crowds of London.
- Specify that you’d like afternoon tea for two people – they should know how much to bring.
- They do other food too, not just afternoon tea. You can check out the whole place on their website.